It is not often that I get to write a story about people that were born as early as the two who are discussed in today’s post. They were each born after the turn of the 19th century in Germany. These two were then part of the original immigration that arrived in America in 1839 and most of which settled in Perry County. This pair is also responsible for the many folks who now live in and around Perry County who carry the surname, Hecht.
Today’s birthday boy is Christian Herman Friedrich Hecht, who was born on June 25, 1802. That makes him 220 years old today…two centuries and two decades old. Although our German Family Tree gives no indication about who Friedrich’s parents were, some family trees on Ancestry.com claim that they were Johann and Christina Hecht.
Friedrich’s wife was Christiana Augustin. We are fortunate that Christiana has her date of birth on her gravestone. Christiana was born the day after Christmas, December 26, 1806 in Germany. I have no idea who her parents were. Christiana likely married Friedrich Hecht in the late 1820’s. Their first child was born around 1829.
In 1839, the Hecht’s came to America as part of the Gruber Group that arrived in New Orleans in November of that year. We find Friedrich, Christiana, and 4 children on the passenger list of the ship, Johann Georg.
In the book, Zion on the Mississippi, we find this listing of the Fr, Hecht family. It says that Friedrich was a weaver from Mittel-Frohna.
Three more children were born to this family in America. The first two of those three were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, but the last one was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We find this family in the 1850 census with 6 children ranging in age from ages 2 to 21. Friedrich, if he was indeed a weaver at one time, would be one of many weavers who were part of the original immigration who had to change their occupation to farming.
Next, we find the Hecht’s in the 1850 census. Only 5 children remained in the household.
The last census in which we find Friedrich and Christiana was the one taken in 1870. Only their youngest son, Henry, remained living with his parents. Friedrich and Christiana were in their 60’s.
Friedrich Hecht died in 1872 at the age of 69; Christiana Hecht died in 1874 at the age of 67. Each of them are buried in the upper cemetery of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. In these gravestone photos, you can see evidence that efforts have been made to clean them in such a way as to read them easier.
There are 19 pages of descendants listed in our German Family Tree that came from these original Hecht’s. As I pointed out earlier, there are plenty of Hecht’s to be found around here to this day. In addition to that, the Hecht girls married men with the surnames, Hemmann, Koenig, and Schmidt. So, there are other descendants in later generations from these Hecht’s that carried those names.
I have a quick side note. I will be attending a special birthday party later today for Gerard Fiehler, whose birthday was two days ago. Perhaps I can relieve Gerard from the agony of knowing he’s getting older by telling him that Friedrich Hecht would be 150 years older (minus 2 days) than he is if he was celebrating his birthday today. After all, Gerard is only a half century plus 2 decades old now.